Workers in British Columbia are entitled to financial assistance through the employer's WorkSafeBC insurance coverage. Coverage may extend to workplace injury caused by one event, as well as progressive conditions that result from exposure to chemicals or repetitive motions in a person's line of work over extended periods.
Most workers find comfort in knowing that a workers' compensation program exists that will likely cover their medical expenses and lost wages if they should suffer workplace injuries. However, it is not unusual for companies to be based in British Columbia and send work crews on assignments in other provinces or territories. Such workers may have questions about their rights to benefits if they should fall victim to work-related accidents while working outside the province.
Workers in British Columbia who are exposed to hazardous or toxic substances in their workplaces might nor even notice the gradual damage this exposure causes to their health. In many cases, by the time workers are diagnosed with occupational diseases, the condition is already severe. Although workers' compensation covers work-related illnesses, they may be more difficult to prove for claims purposes than other workplace injuries.
Many employers in British Columbia look to to employ young, inexperienced workers who are eager to prove themselves and keen to learn. However, not all business owners realize that young workers may also be distracted, with many non-work-related matters on their minds. As young workers acclimatize to the workplace, employers may find that they must spend more time training young workers on workplace safety than they would with older, more seasoned workers.
In June this year, a standing committee of the House of Commons tabled a report with several recommendations to address violence aimed at health care workers in British Columbia and across Canada. For decades, violence-related workplace injury victims had to handle it as par for the course, and the aim is to put a stop to that mindset. A report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union indicates that over 60% of nurses say they have been victims of harassment, assault and abuse while on duty.
While workers' compensation obligations are par for the course for British Columbia businesses with permanent employees, they also give rise to many questions for those who hire contractors or subcontractors. Who will be liable if a subcontractor suffers a workplace injury? Business owners can avoid having to pay additional insurance premiums by obtaining a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC that states whether the contractor is registered and paying workers' compensation premiums itself.
According to WorkSafeBC, activities on road construction sites in British Columbia increase significantly during the spring and summer months. This is also the time that puts road construction workers at increased workplace injury risks. Along with the typical dangers posed by the equipment these workers use in the course of their work, they are further threatened by traffic moving through the work zone.
Employers in British Columbia are responsible for the protection of the health and safety of their employees. Workers must be informed of the known hazards that pose workplace injury risks, and they should be given safety training to learn how to mitigate those hazards. Workers who are tasked with jobs in unsafe conditions have the right to refuse to do the work.
Employers in British Columbia must protect the health and safety of their workers. WorkSafeBC expects employers in all industries to mitigate known safety hazards to prevent on-the-job accidents. The craft brewery industry is growing rapidly, and safety authorities say the workplace injury risks have increased at a similar pace.
All employers in British Columbia have various obligations and duties toward employees. The Workers' Compensation Act requires employers to protect the health and safety of employees. An employer who fails to comply with the required standards could be held accountable if an employee should suffer a preventable workplace injury. However, some believe that health care workers in particular need more protection against workplace violence.